The last achievement party* of the year began with a treasure hunt and ended with a 50's diner dinner. Each student received a different color and piece of the puzzle invitation. Once they figured it out, the pieces fit together so that they could read their invitations. Each student also knew who else was on their team, and they worked together to prepare and to decide who would bring which of the following items: a bag, hand shovel, maritime flag code, money bag, mirror, and a charged cell phone.
I hid over 500 fake gold coins all over our fair little borough of Terre Hill (after I requested permission from each property owner). Then I put together six sets of about twenty-three clues in six envelopes and set six teams of students loose for two hours to see how many they could find. There was a teacher accompanying each group. They had received good instructions on what to do and what not to do, and we had a lot of fun.
I have gleaned many of my ideas from other people, so I will share mine here.
There were six different teams because there were over thirty students.
The last time I did this I tried to have them find the clues which would then lead them to the next spot, but this time I did an easier, wiser, and I think more fun version.
First I put all the coins in color coded sealed baggies. Each color had a different amount of coins; the first team there got the most coins, and the last team there got the least. I used "Roy G. Biv" for the order: red - 6 coins, orange - 5 coins, yellow - 4 coins, green - 3 coins, blue - 2 coins, and violet - 1 coin.
Then all I had to do was to put all the clues into one large envelope, assign the teams, assign a teacher to each team, and set them loose. I laughed several times when my group, the adventuresome 7th grade boys, could not figure out the Civil War Cannon clue and ran past the cannon at least three times before they deciphered the clue.
The first two papers in the packet gave them their instructions which included safety precautions, an explanation of the color-coded coin bags, what time to return to the cars, and announced the winning group's reward --a pizza party. Each team leader was instructed to read these aloud to their group.
1. One of the clues was an obituary. The address of the funeral home was at the bottom of the page, and several letters in the obituary were underlined which all together spelled out, "Under the urn".
Clues are explained by number, clockwise from top left of each picture:
2. There were baggies buried under several "clean up after your dog" signs in the park.
3. Word scramble - "bell, path, bridge" (at the park). Inside the covered bridge was a key, and under the bridge was a lock box with the coins inside. There were also instructions to return the key.
4. (Blue) This was a clue on a church's steps written in numbers. (A = 1, B = 2 etc.) There was not an explanation for the code so they had to figure it out.
5. "In Mrs. Swanson's living room is something that is not what it appears to be." There were actually two things; a fake dictionary on the bookshelf which had a clue to look for the step with hinges that opened.
6. A piece of the music, "Upon This Rock" with the words "rock" and "church" circled. They all figured out that the coins were under the large rock in front of the church.
7. The only time ______ is used as an adjective is when it tells how someone feels. I do not feel __. The coins were hidden in my filled-in well in the back yard (which is conveniently located adjacent to the park).
8. This is a code in lemon juice writing which appears when it is ironed. The bottom reads, "iron me" and the code read, "FLAG POLE". There were coins under all four borough flag poles.
9. IF this overhead sheet is lined up correctly on top of the letter find, it spells out "Civil War cannon".
10. This clue was written backwards and they had to use their mirror. "Go to the borough sign and take three steps toward the road . . . . " The coins were stuffed up a pipe.
11. This was a paint sample which read "BB&T steps". The clue was down the outside stairs of the local bank. Inside the bank deposit envelope at the bottom of the stairs were instructions on how to find my P.O. box key. They texted me for the P.O. box number, retrieved their coins, and put the key back.
12. This was one of my favorites. The address was that of another church in town. If they read the stained glass windows, one of them had the Snader's names on it. If they dug under that window, they found the coins.
13. These coins were under a plant on the porch of the lovely Artist's Inn Bed and Breakfast.
13. The maritime flag code decoded read: "LIGHTHOUSE ON MAIN". The nice people who live here are friends from our church.
14. This clue was rolled up with some of those rolled up chocolate wafers. It read, "Kumm Esse", Pennsylvania Dutch for "Come eat". One group stood within 10 feet of this sign and asked me what the clue meant.
15. This one read "NO PARKING ON THE FRONTIER". My group of boys looked all over my FRONT yard before they walked by the signs shown in the picture and immediately figured it out. Hello?
16. This one is a picture of an old fashioned pay phone booth. My lovely little town still has one of these. Yay!
18. This was a slide I had used in history class about Benedict Arnold storming Ft. Ticonderoga. They all knew to look at the playground in the park where Jeff and my sons "attacked" Ft. Ticonderoga for a history class video.
*We are now calling the honor roll parties more appropriately, "Achievement Parties" as that is a more accurate description of them. Students may either score an 85% (B) or higher in all their classes on their report cards (honor roll status), or a 77% or higher (C) if they are receiving any tutoring help; or they may bring their grade up 5 points from the grade on their previous report card. This way they are all being challenged, but everyone is able to attend the parties if they are indeed putting forth the effort. This type of rule has always been in effect for all of our parties; if they try, they are able to attend.